April is Stress Awareness Month.
Although people react to stress in many different ways, for those who suffer from tinnitus high levels of stress can worsen this condition.
Although it is not always clear whether stress causes the onset of tinnitus, or is a contributing factor, it is common for tinnitus to start at times of high stress or after a period of stress.
Nearly everyone experiences stress at various times. It happens when the demands on someone are not matched by their resources, in other words their biological, psychological or social capabilities.
The British Tinnitus Association says tinnitus is one of the most common conditions that people experience. About one in 10 UK adults will have persistent tinnitus.
Symptoms of stress vary in different people but some common signs of stress to look out for include:
- Feeling tense
- Quickened heart beat
- Breathlessness or a change in breathing such as lots of yawning or sighing
- Churning stomach or nausea
- Poor concentration
- Disrupted sleep
Various emotional and physical factors have been linked to the onset of tinnitus, including stress. Although it is not always clear whether stress causes the onset of tinnitus or is a contributing factor, it is common for tinnitus to start at times of high stress or after a period of stress.
It is also common for existing tinnitus to become worse during periods of high stress. For some people, tinnitus acts as their ‘barometer’ of stress, often worsening when there are difficult things going on.
Making changes can help to reduce the adverse effects of stress, whatever its cause.
Some people find changes in their behaviour can help them to better manage their tinnitus, for example by focusing their attention more on interesting activities and less on the tinnitus.
If tinnitus is troubling you make an appointment with our audiologist Fiona Idriss who runs our tinnitus service. Find out more.